The Friday evening gamers have started to play the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game RPG, based on the seminal work created by Johnston McCulley of a dashing and heroic figure fighting Spanish oppression of the Native Indians and for justice in old California of the early 1800s.
All five of my gamers (Kathy, Angela, Ellie, Mark, and Peter) came out to play, and with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, we took the precautions of sitting apart and wearing masks. In the case of the masks, it's impossible to wear a mask and talk almost non-stop for 4 hours; after about an hour or so, the masks literally came off, though we continued to stay physically distanced to the best of our abilities.
The Friday players showed up at my place between 6:50pm and 7:05pm, and once everyone arrived, we sat for about 10 minutes and caught up on the six+ months or so of life in the time of coronavirus, and then when everyone was comfortable, got down to the game. I started off by talking to the players about Zorro and *who* and *what* the character is and what he represents. None of the players had any background with Zorro or the character's history, though they'd seen a few tv episodes and of course the Banderas/Zeta-Jones movies. The character and his world were totally new to my goddaughter, who made comparisons to the Batman, but got corrected by her mother about the fact that Zorro inspired the Batman. Regardless, all the players agreed that this gave them a good idea about the game's themes and focus. I then showed them the maps of Alta California, the El Camino Real, and a couple of others (there are no maps in the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game RPG, but some fan maps sufficed, though they aren't very clear, either), and talked with the players about the game world of Alta California, and answered their questions to the best of my ability for about 30 minutes or so. This covered everything from basic game mechanics, the use of the D6 dice, Hero Points, the Suspicion mechanics, and a few other things that they asked about. From that starting point, we moved on to character generation. Character creation with five players took a bit longer than I expected, but I managed to create the player characters with the gaming group in roughly 35 to 40 minutes.
Character generation in the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game RPG is a relatively straightforward process. You basically create a character by picking a Template and adding 7D worth of Skills, or Customize the character from scratch with 12D in Attributes, 7D in Skills, and a few other things that complete the character. The process is certainly made easier if you have an idea of what you want to play, but does require some thought when it comes to the questions about how one feels about the Spanish oppression, what one is doing about it, and so forth. (You can get an idea of how character generation for the game system works with the detailed example, Lorena Batanero, that I posted up to the blog about a week and a half or so ago.) The Templates for the game offer a good variety of character types that seem typical of the Zorro books and the feel the game is trying to create, so that helps a lot as well.
The characters that the Friday night players created for the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game RPG were a good mix, had some interesting twists to them (you'd have to see the full backgrounds for them), and look like they'll be an interesting mix of personalities. Here's what the Friday night players created.
KathyB - Kathy liked the template of the doctor, but wanted to make it her own. She created Dr. Yasmin Arriaga, a doctor whose husband was killed in a duel over her, who is suspicious about the motivations for the advances made towards her, and who also now fights the Spanish injustice against the Native peoples.
Angela - She liked the idea of playing a musician, but wanted to make the character male. Mateo de la Soriano ia the son of a less influential noble family, who pursued his dream of being a musician and has a love of the Native people (and has fallen for a Native girl). He's also very cautious in his approach to fighting the Spanish oppression of the Natives. Angela told me she's a bit nervous about playing a guy; she's never done it before in a roleplaying game. Should be fascinating.
Ellie - She always tend to go outside the box in her character creation, and this time was no exception. Ellie is playing Marina Martinez, a young woman with no memory of her childhood other than a burning village, taken in by the family of a wealthy Don, after she spent much time living on the streets after her family were killed.
Mark - Mark had a good idea of what he wanted to play, and went outside the templates as well. He created Francisco Nunez, a Tongva hunter whose village was converted by the Spanish, and who now works with the animals of the local area and continues to hunt animals for both food and protecting the community. He may or may not have a pet, but it depends on when you ask him that question.
Peter - He had a good idea of what he wanted to play, and created a variant off one of the templates from the book. Sergio Torres is a soldier from the local presidio, now serving in the pueblo much of the time, who has become disgruntled and disenchanted with his work against the Indigenous tribes. While he likes being a soldier, he's not sure anymore of where his loyalties lie.
All in all, the players created an interesting group of characters with a lot of potential, and they told me afterwards that they rather enjoyed the process of creating them and did a good job of coming up with ideas on how their characters would interact; they were pretty happy with their choices.
After we finished character creation, I managed to go through the game mechanics with the players, and had them do some sample rolls to illustrate the basic Attribute + Skill versus Difficulty Number mechanic, and then ran a few quick one-on-one combats. Overall, the players told me they quite like the Zorro: The Roleplaying Game system and rather enjoyed character generation, and are now looking forward to starting their game this coming Friday evening (life and the world willing).